CRAWFORDVILLE, Fla. (WTXL) — In a letter to County Commissioners, Clerk of Court Greg James said that he "believes strongly in separation of church and state."
This is James' first year as Clerk of Court for Wakulla County.
He states in his letter that the county has left decisions of holiday displays up to the Clerk of Court's office. The County can make any decisions they want for holiday displays, but since it's his decision, he will not be putting the nativity scene out.
In the letter, James referenced a threat of a previous lawsuit made towards the past Clerk of Court a few years ago. In case of a lawsuit for a nativity scene being on county property, James said that the county attorney does not represent his office, so he would have to get his own attorney.
After hearing about the nativity scene being absent this year, business owner Landon Turner put his own nativity scene in front of his business which faces the courthouse.
He said although he supports the decision, he wanted to pick up where the county left off.
"I was disappointed, but then Mr. Greg said that he had people call in, and he said 'why is it the government's responsibility to do something that you or maybe your church hasn't done,'" said Turner. "So that was a great place of conviction for me so I thought if we're really passionate about a manger scene or about our faith, we should if we have the freedom to do that, we should put one up ourselves."
Groups like the Humanists of Tallahassee say they are in full support of the Clerk of Court's office decision to keep church and state separate this year.
"People always think in December, it's Christmas, but there are several other holidays that are celebrated, and some people don't celebrate anything at all, so it's very inclusive, and it's helpful for the community to not have a single religion represented," Devon Graham of Humanists of Tallahassee.
The Clerk of Court also said in the letter that if he allowed a nativity scene, he would have to allow displays from every group, not just Christians.